Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Faith-oriented Employee Affinity Groups (EAGs)

“By bringing religious diversity fully into corporate Diversity and Inclusion efforts, companies will be in a better position to more holistically address the needs of all employees.”

Michael Bodson
President and CEO

Faith-Based Employee Resource Groups: A Tanenbaum Report for Corporate Members

The 2014 Tanenbaum Report for Corporate Members reviews a common challenge identified by Tanenbaum’s Corporate Members — the question of faith-based Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) — and identifies pragmatic approaches for managing them. This Report is a product of Tanenbaum’s benchmarking research of Corporate Members’ practices, research on religious inclusion at work, and our expertise. In brief, it explores the reasons why too few U.S. and international companies have sanctioned faith-based ERGs, and presents better practices for companies considering the implementation of effective faith-based ERGs.

“If managed properly, sanctioning faith-based ERGs can be an effective strategy for reducing religious bias and discrimination at work and improving talent attraction, retention and morale.” -Tanenbaum Report

“American Express has leveraged the expertise and diverse insights from their religion-specific ERGs for product development and marketing initiatives.” -Tanenbaum Report

“Increased awareness of who we are as individuals and how that awareness is shared with our colleagues is critical for a company to succeed in global markets.” —Shanti K. Samuel, Merck & Co., Inc.

DiversityInc discusses different models of faith-based ERG. The note the business case for one company:

“It was perceived as risky—not something corporate America has embraced fully,”Aetna Chief Diversity Officer Raymond Arroyo recalls. “There was concern that there would be disruption in the workplace and the feeling that if we supported some groups, others would object.” Aetna is No. 19 on The 2011 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. “I maintained that this a business-case issue,” Arroyo says. “If you align it with our values, then you don’t have anything to worry about.”

The health-insurance company increasingly has worked with religious organizations to sell its products, such as Esperanza USA in Philadelphia, the largest Latino organization of Christian churches.

Diversity Best Practices, a division of Working Mother Media, is a platform for organizational diversity thought leaders to share best practices and develop innovative solutions for culture change. In August 2017, they published Focus on Interfaith Employee Resource Groups.